American Idol’s performance style “may change forever the way Broadway sings.”

American Idol’s performance style “may change forever the way Broadway sings.”
American Idol‘s brand of “intensely emotional and oddly impersonal” singing “may change forever the way Broadway sings,” Ben Brantley argues in The New York Times. On the show, he says, “The accent is on abstract feelings, usually embodied by people of stunning ordinariness, than on particular character. Quivering vibrato, curlicued melisma, notes held past the vanishing point: the favorite technical tricks of ‘Idol’ contestants are often like screams divorced from the pain or ecstasy that inspired them.” He finds that various aspects of Idol have trickled into Broadway performances, from a “self-congratulatory element” to the way the show “celebrates stamina, will power and gymnastic agility,” which leads contestants to “hoist, hold and balance notes like barbells in a weight-lifting exhibition. And the audience claps and hoots instinctively every time such muscle-flexing occurs.”

The Sing-Off loses its star

Ben Folds

NBC's super-fun December a capella singing competition The Sing-Off is returning, but without its star judge, Ben Folds, and only as a two-hour special. Those are really depressing changes for a series that proved itself to be a super-fun show when it returned last December.


A film director talks about becoming a reality TV character

Anna Martemucci

What is it like to have your life turned into reality TV? Director Anna Martemucci, one of the two directors featured on Starz' exceptional reality series, talks about that, the competition, and her collaboration with her husband and brother-in-law.

Plus: How the show's producers tried to keep the $250,000 competition fair.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.